The paper industry is a branch of the economy that belongs to the basic industry and deals with the production of paper , cardboard and paperboard . Many paper producing companies are now internationally linked.
The Association of German Paper Mills distinguishes between the following four product areas according to the intended use:
- Graphic papers
- Paper, cardboard and cardboard for packaging
- Sanitary papers
- Papers and cardboard for technical and special purposes ( special papers and special cardboard)
Paper industry worldwide
Almost 413 million tons of paper, cardboard and cardboard were produced worldwide in 2017. The largest producers are (2017):
- People's Republic of China (115.8 million t)
- United States (72.3 million t)
- Japan (26.5 million t)
- Germany (22.9 million t)
Many companies have international ties . It is estimated that the top 20 paper manufacturers currently account for almost 40% of the world's paper, paperboard and paperboard production. The ten largest paper manufacturers (by production in 2016) worldwide are:
- en: Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Limited
- International Paper
- Oji Paper
- Nippon Paper
- Smurfit Kappa Group
- Stora Enso
- Resolute Forest Products
Paper industry in Europe
The European paper industry accounts for almost 24.3% of the world's paper production with around 90.9 million t. The consolidation of the European paper industry over the last decade has reduced the number of companies, paper mills and paper machines in Europe, but at the same time increased production capacity. The turnover of the European paper industry in 2016 was around EUR 81 billion. 177,000 people work in the European pulp and paper industry.
Paper industry in Germany
The German paper industry, whose economic interests are represented by the Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken (VDP), was number one in Europe in 2018 with a production volume of around 22 million tons of paper, cardboard and cardboard and is behind China, the USA and Japan worldwide fourth place.
The production is divided into four main groups of varieties:
- 55% packaging paper and cardboard
- 32% graphic papers
- 7% hygiene papers
- 6% technical papers and special papers
The nearly 40,000 employees in the German pulp and paper industry generated sales of 14.4 billion euros in 165 plants in 2019. Germany is also one of the largest sales markets in the world. Among other things, the export-oriented German industry needs packaging materials made of paper, cardboard and cardboard. The strategic importance of the German market has meant that - measured in terms of production - around 50% of the German paper industry is in foreign hands. However, this figure is falling due to new capacities from domestic companies. In addition to large international corporations, there are many medium-sized companies that are often world market leaders in their product segments. Germany exports 45% of its production. The most important export market with 59% is Western Europe.
The ten largest paper manufacturers in Germany (2018) are:
- Smurfit Kappa
- Palm paper mill
- August Koehler paper mill
- Felix Schoeller Group
Current situation in the German paper industry
Production in the German paper industry decreased slightly in 2019. In 2019, the industry produced around 22 million tons of paper, cardboard and cardboard, 2.7 percent less than in the previous year. However, the development of the individual groups of varieties continued to be very different. With a slight plus of 0.7 percent, packaging paper and board continued on their growth path. They now make up 55 percent of the production volume. The graphic papers recorded a further decline with a minus of 8.3 percent. The share of printing and writing paper is now 32 percent.
Hygiene papers (−0.6 percent) remained largely stable in production. Technical and specialty papers, which comprise a large number of products, showed a decrease of 2.8 percent. Their share in production is 7 and 6 percent respectively.
The industry's turnover fell by 6.6 percent to 14.3 billion euros. This is due both to the continued positive economic situation in the packaging market and to the price adjustments for graphic paper, which are necessary in particular due to the dramatic rise in pulp prices. The number of employees in the German pulp and paper industry fell only slightly to -1.7 percent due to individual closures. It is now 39,850.
The industry is watching the development of energy and climate policy at national and European level with concern. She sees the security of supply for the industry at risk as a result of the phasing out scenarios from nuclear power and coal that are being implemented soon. International competitiveness also threatens to suffer from one-sided burdens. In light of the international trade crises, it must be questioned very critically whether the CO 2 border tax envisaged in the EU and the associated discontinuation of all previous compensatory measures for energy-intensive industries would solve this problem.
- Jürgen Dispan (2013): Paper Industry in Germany. Industry report 2013. Stuttgart (= IMU Information Service No. 2/2013), online
Germany, Austria, Switzerland
- Association of German Paper Mills
- Association of employers' associations in the German paper industry
- Paper can do more: a magazine for a life with paper
- IG BCE - paper industry
- Association of the Austrian paper industry
- Association of the Swiss Pulp, Paper and Cardboard Industry
- Association of German Paper Mills: Paper Compass 2019  , see tables on Germany.
- Association of German Paper Mills: Paper Compass 2019  , see tables on exports and imports in Germany.
- Association of German Paper Mills: Paper Compass 2019  , see table on international production.
- Press release of the Association of German Paper Mills from March 4, 2020.